My drive to organize our lives better was originally born purely out of necessity. Being a household of two working parents, no extended family nearby, two boys – one just having started school – we found that the “life system” we had going was just not working for us anymore.
In fact, it was no system at all and we were becoming frazzled and stressed out because of the demands of trying to stay on top of everything.
But we may well have more reason to do so.
Since starting school, our eldest has continued to score low for “life skills” – his ability to settle down, focus and get things done. So there’s been an OT evaluation, six months of physiotherapy to strengthen his core muscles, and shortly there will be a full evaluation to identify if we are dealing with AD/HD. (Or maybe just a small boy who is taking a bit longer to adjust to the demands of formal schooling?)
Anyhow, right now I’m reading everything I can lay my hands on that will help me help my son to cope better with his evident focus issues.
Enter Cheryl Carter’s very practical Organize your ADD/ADHD child – A Practical Guide for the Overwhelmed and Just Plain Frustrated Parent. Whether our son is diagnosed or not, this is an amazingly practical book filled with practical tips on teaching kids to organize themselves in fun and child-friendly ways.
This is where I discovered the F.I.R.S.T way, an acronym Carter coined to describe her approach to organizing kids – Fun, Individual, Rules, Simplicity and Time Management. And the more I read, the more excited I am about how these ideas seem to echo what we’re already doing with Personal Kanban.
Take her description of the “Chore Jar Game”:
To play the game, first, write down the chores for the week on index cards and assign the cards points based on how difficult or tedious the tasks are for children to complete. Once a week, children draw cards to decide which chores to do. The winner is the one who amasses the most points. To encourage camaraderie and goodwill among siblings, encourage children to help younger siblings with tasks. At the end of the week, the one with the most points wins a prize.
Now doesn’t that sound just like the whole idea behind Kidzban? Whether she’s read about kanban or not, she’s certainly using the principles. And I love the fact that her tried and tested “games” are validating and confirming the results I’m seeing at home.
Would love to hear from anybody out there who has used the F.I.R.S.T way in practice and has results to share!